Sunday, December 29, 2019

Bird Watching and the Story of Mitsou

Bird Watching
mixed media on cradled board
available here

My cat Mitsou likes to bird watch.  There is a place near a window on the back of the couch where she will bird watch nearly all day and sometimes she can be found stubbornly waiting by the window at night even though the birds have long gone to bed.  She is a mischief, a funny girl, a crazy cat, a ninja, and then she can be absolutely still and sweet.

She was abandoned by her mother as a kitten along with her siblings on my friend's property in the country and when my friend texted me a photo of her asking if I wanted a kitten I was hooked.  Absolutely adorable kitten cuteness.  I had lost my mother only months before, so I had a moment of weakness.  I say weakness because we already had our Golden Retriever Hurley and our other cat Peet.  But I brought her home anyways and there has never been a shy bone in her little cat body.  She made herself right at home and thinks she runs the place.

I love telling the story of how I got her name.  The year before I was in New York City with my sister at the Metropolitan Museum of Art seeing a Balthus exhibit.  Part of that exhibit was Balthus' 40 original drawings of his childhood cat Mitsou.  He drew them when he was only 11 years old probably to process his grief after she ran away.  In the drawings it showed her cuddled up to him when he was sick in bed, his frantic parents as she dashed across the dining table, and himself with a lantern in hand out in the street looking for her.  Their family friend was so moved by his drawings he published them into a book.  I was  moved too and promised that the next cat I took in would be named Mitsou.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Bird Shop, a New Job, Backyard Birds and a Christmas Sale

Bird Shop
oil on wood panel 16 x 12 inch
Can you believe it is already December 4?  I sure can't.  I have been busy busy.  I have two part time jobs and one of them is at a nature store here in Colorado.  I have always loved feeding our backyard birds and we often sit and watch them from the kitchen table.  We even have a bird book and binoculars nearby just in case we have any unidentified visitors at one of the feeders.  Anyways, I ended up taking a part time job at the store where I buy our birdseed.  I have to tell you that people who spend the time and money to feed the sweet flying creatures make some of the nicest customers and interesting folks to talk to.  It is a physical workout on some days when a truckload with 2,000 lbs of seed shows up and we have to carry them into the store and put them away.  Each bag weighs 20 lbs.  I am pretty tired on delivery days, but the job is NO stress.  I love this job.  

So as you can probably guess by now this painting is inspired by my new job.  I will tell you about the other job later on.  I have some paintings brewing in my head that are inspired by that job.

photo by Lisa Graham
These two doves are often seen sitting together in our backyard and they are often on the SAME branch.  Isn't that precious?

photo by Lisa Graham
This is the first year seeing Northern Flickers!  My heart skipped a beat when I saw one on the railing of our deck just outside the kitchen.  They are so beautiful.  This one is a female.

photo by Lisa Graham
I believe this one is called a Lesser Gold Finch.  It's all puffed up trying to stay warm.  

Brick House
oil on panel 6 x 8 inch 2017

Other news is I am having a Merry Christmas sale on select paintings including this one.  They are 50% off through December to say thank you and celebrate a wonderful year.  The link to the sale section is

Thank you always for following my art.  
Until next time!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Gigi in Her Studio and Meeting Gigi

Gigi in Her Studio
oil on birch panel 12 x 16 inch
Gigi Mills is an artist whose work touches my soul.  I first saw her art in an artist magazine years ago, a very small image in the back of the magazine advertising an upcoming solo exhibition.  I don't remember what the image was, but I do remember immediately searching for more images online.  Locating her facebook, I was thrilled when she accepted my friend request so that I could further follow her work.

Fast forward a few years to last year, I saw that Gigi had a solo show in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I missed the opening, but I was elated when I realized that Santa Fe was only 5 hours away from our new residence in Colorado.   Santa Fe was a place I was wanting to visit and seeing Gigi's work in person was the motivation I needed to make that road trip happen sooner than later.  

I messaged Gigi via Facebook to ask her if the show would indeed still be up during the weekend I planned to arrive and to my surprise, she graciously invited me to stop by her studio if I ended up coming to Santa Fe.  I was so excited and touched and of course took her up on the offer to meet her and see her studio.

Her exhibit was called Bird, in honor of her beautiful dog that she lost in 2017.  Her grief was so present in every painting and sculpture and it moved me to tears.  It was truly a special thing for me to not only see Gigi's work in person, but to see this work that was so personal to the artist.  After my stop at GF Contemporary Art Gallery I could not wait to meet Gigi.

Gigi Mills
Bird exhibition at GF Contemporary 2018
Santa Fe, NM
I made my way to her studio and what a delight it was to talk with her and see her studio.  She was gracious and kind and open.  She was interesting and interested about my own journey as an artist and encouraged me greatly.  I came away from our visit feeling SO inspired.  I did a little sketch of her with the intention of painting her one day and here it is one year later.  

I wish I could write more elegantly about my experience that day, but all I can say is that after meeting Gigi, it was easy to see why I saw so much soul and depth in her work.  She is a beautiful soul herself and I will treasure the day I met her forever.

Thank you dear Gigi for letting me paint my memory of you in your studio and for sharing your heart with us via your work.  This world is a better place because of you and your art.  

Monday, October 14, 2019

Absorption in Variation

Absorption in Variation
oil on birch panel 12 x 16
 I have been doing small works on paper lately, but every now and then I feel the need to paint larger.  I can add so much more detail on a surface that is 9 x 12 inch or larger and over time I have learned that those little details are what I love most about painting.  Those little surprises added for the viewer are like hiding easter eggs at an easter egg hunt.  There was a time when I loved painting faces the most, but lately I have been more interested in adding less detail there and more in the surroundings, unless I am working on a portrait.



This scene is almost autobiographical.  My husband and I do position ourselves in these spots on the couch and our dog Hurley is usually asking for my attention (and getting it).  Vic never reads a newspaper (does anyone?), he is more of an internet reader, and am usually reading a book rather than staring off into space.  Though I DO do that from time to time! 

This room composition is based on a sketch of my living room.  Most of the furnishings and decor are added.  I do not own a fish lamp, but after painting this I would not mind having one!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Mirror, Colorado and an Official Website!

mixed media on wood 12 x 16 inch

Hello, hello and hello.  It's been too long!  I post regularly on Instagram and Facebook, but my blog has been on the backburner this past summer.  We have stayed busy with lots of  hiking and fun events in Denver and Colorado Springs.  I have been reading a lot too, which is nice.  For the longest time, I could not focus.  Now that we have been in Colorado well over a year, I feel more like myself.  I have been painting quite a lot and this is a recent one.  I wanted to try painting a reflection, so this is me modeling for it.  I bought some birch panels and it has been nice to paint on them again.  I used to use them more, but got away from it.

Vic and I went on an eight mile hike a couple of weekends ago in Rocky Mountain National Park.  We saw a lot of Elk and they were really on the move.  There were several males and even more females.  The males were making their bugal calls which was a real treat to hear.  They are so beautiful.  

On our hike we saw it all...views, aspens, waterfall, it was the best hike we have been on since living here.

Exciting news!!!  I officially have a website!  My dear husband spent hours and hours building it for me and I could not be more happy with it!  Please have a look and tell me what you think!  He was able to put all my social media links, Etsy and connect this blog to it.  He did an amazing job and I am so happy and proud to be a ".com" now!  

You can see the website HERE .

I have been doing a lot of sketching.  The vintage photos a friend gifted me years ago have been put to good use for some of these sketches and paintings.

Elizabeth Le Poidevin
oil on paper 5 x 7 inch
available here

I also have been really enjoying a new book on Hammershoi.  I had never heard of him before, but learned a lot one day when I stumbled onto Michael Palin's documentary on him.  His very controlled palette and quiet atmospheres really appeals to me.

Hammershoi's Girls and a Table
oil on paper 5 x 7 inch
I painted this little piece based on his painting "Figures by a Window" c. 1895, adding my own touches.  I think I will revisit his book again soon.  I really love this quiet palette so much.

That's all I have for now.

Take care.

♥ Lisa

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Dancing Families and Colorado Summers

Festival at the Farm
mixed media on paper 12 x 9 inch
available here
 My husband Vic and I have this saying that we say nearly every morning to each other and that is..."it's another ridiculously gorgeous day in Colorado!"

It is the truth...sunshine nearly every day.  The mornings are filled with sweet mountain air.  It is hard to be in a bad mood here.

photo by Lisa Graham

We recently went to the Lilac Festival near Denver and there was this sweet family dancing barefoot in the grass to the bluegrass band that was playing.  I did what many artists do and made a strong mental note of that image then went home to paint it.  

The band was SO second time to see them.  We sat for two hours just listening to them and people watching.  You can see the band's site

Along with family and friend visits, hikes, and lots of reading, I have been learning to play guitar this summer.  Not an easy task for this middle age woman, but I love that I am learning something new.  It is good for the mind!

Hurley is enjoying his summer too.

And I hope you are as well!  Until next time!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Musical Bluely

Musical Bluely
oil on paper 9 x 12 inch
available here
A couple of months ago I started guitar lessons and that is what inspired this. I suppose I painted a piano because I feel much more comfortable with it even though I have not played for quite some time. Music has always been a huge part of my life and it is a blessing to be part of a musical family.  My dad and siblings were musical, my in-laws are musical, and my son is now a piano teacher running his own music studio and gives my grandson piano lessons.  Kind of neat!  

This painting is available in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Men in Paintings

Fahreinheit's Books
oil on canvas panel 9 x 12 inch
I do not paint men in my paintings very often, but I do enjoy it whenever I do.  So different from the female figures.  These two paintings are inspired by people I have seen while out and about.  One man was at a used bookstore that I went to with my daughter in-law, and the other was seen while passing by on an evening walk.  

Evening at the Office
oil on canvas panel 9 x 12 inch
available here

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Spare Bedroom, Shower Dog and Morning Pancakes

Spare Bedroom
oil on canvas 20 x 24 inch

I am painting a lot these days.  I am a little bit behind on posting my paintings here.   I do post regularly on my Facebook page and especially Instagram, so please find me there.

Shower Dog
oil on paper 9 x 12 inch
available here

Morning Pancakes
oil on canvas 12 x 16 inch

Friday, April 12, 2019

Art Studio

Art Studio
oil on canvas 9 x 12 inch
I shared a photo some time ago on my Facebook and Instagram of the reading corner in my art studio and decided it would be fun to paint after a friend suggested it. The art hanging on the walls is loosely from my own. The one above the chair is "Tahmoor's Table" which is actually hanging in the show in Colorado Springs right now (over May 1). The lamp was made by my oldest son using a piece of wood he had cut while working as a hot shot several years ago. My cat tipped it over once and broke it. I had it repaired because it is so special to me.

Thursday, April 4, 2019


oil on canvas 20 x 24 inch

I finished this painting last month, but all of the titanium white took a while to dry.  This is taken from a scene in our home.  We have this cushion ottoman with a busy floral pattern that serves as a coffee table.  One evening I sketched the scene and right away felt like painting it.  The pattern was a lot busier than this at first, but I toned it down.  The book was originally Bob Dylan's autobiography, but I took liberties to change it to something more feminine.   The dog painting here is of an actual original sketch by David Lloyd  that I purchased years ago and the plant was my mother's.  I tried to be more loose here, but it didn't really go that way.  I am ok with that though.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

29 Years

Vic and I are celebrating 29 years of marriage March 10.  It is so hard to believe how much time has passed.  It has gone fast, yet it feels we have lived 10 lifetimes too.  So many changes.  So much life. To spend so many hours with one human being is no small thing so we celebrate with grateful hearts knowing we have beat many odds thus far.

I took this sweet photo in selfie style while on a hike at the end of December.  It was a happy day and the weather could not have been more perfect.  We had lunch perched on a bench overlooking Roxborough State Park in Colorado and we even built a little snowman like a couple of kids.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Great Grandma's Kitchen and Around Here Lately

Great Grandma's Kitchen
oil on panel 16 x 20 inch
available here

A while back I painted an image in my sketchbook of my great grandmother's kitchen from memory.  All I really remember is that there was this very bright red and white checkered floor that felt like you were stepping into some sort of candy land or something.  I also remember there was a dark back room where there was a bed and coat rack that always had a hat on it and it scared me enough that I never went into that room.  My older siblings said that my memory was pretty close to the real thing so I decided to do an actual painting of it.  I did not make the back room a scary one though.


Yesterday was my birthday and Vic surprised me with a dinner reservation at the most romantic and quiet restaurant I have ever been to.  It is called Gabriel's and it is only a 15 minute drive to the small town of Sedalia, Colorado.  The food was amazing.

Chandin's cows

A couple of weeks ago I went back to Kansas to watch over my grandson for a week while his mom traveled.  I took him with me on a photo shoot with one of my friends and loaned him my little Powershot camera.  My friend and I like to roam around in her truck looking for interesting things to photograph, hopping in and out each time we see something.  After giving my grandson a quick lesson on the rule of thirds, finding interesting subjects, and paying attention to light, we meandered along backroads all the way to Douglas, Kansas.  He really got some great shots.  Once we got home he picked his favorites and edited them after I showed him how to use a simple program on my laptop.  He is only ten years old and is very artistic.  I asked him if he enjoyed photography and his reply made me laugh:  "yeah, but it really isn't my thing".  He prefers to draw marvel characters.  :)

I love this kid.  He was a trooper for going along and joining in the fun.

Chandin's woods
Chandin's closeup  of growth near the river
(his favorite)

Here are a few of  the photos that I took.  It was a very cold day.

Until next time!
♥ Lisa

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Art on the Mesa Art Show

My wall at the Gold Hills Mesa Community Center

The Art on the Mesa Art Exhibit at the Gold Hills Mesa Community Center in Colorado Springs opened on Thursday February 7 and it was a great night.  A lot of people braved the cold and dark to come out and see the show.  I was so happy to be feeling up to it as I had oral surgery that turned out to be more extensive than I thought and it had been a rough couple of weeks.  This is my first time showing publicly in Colorado since moving here last April.

I took very few photos during the evening because I was so busy visiting, but I did get some of the beautiful venue the day we hung the show which are shown below.   It was a joint show with artists Phyllis Davis and Lelia Davis (mother and daughter in-law), and I have really loved getting to know them a little more.  The show was curated by artist Carol Naylor who teaches watercolor batik.  Phyllis, Lelia and I plan to take her class which we hear is an absolute blast.

Lelia Davis' work, hanging in progress

Phylis Davis

The views at the community center are spectacular.

I loved the comments I received during the evening.  Words like "unique", "primitive", and "story telling" were said repetitively.  For any painter, it is always encouraging when people respond to your work and take the time to study the paintings.  At this showing, people seem to like my interior paintings the best, which I am standing in front of.  (You can see them in the first photo of this post).  There were also a several that questioned the meaning behind They Have Come to Bring Us Spring and I was pleased to know that most had guessed it correctly. 

The show will be hanging until May 1, so if you find yourself in Colorado Springs you can check it out.  It is free and open to the public.

 Gold Hills Mesa Community Center
142 S. Raven Mine Road

Until next time!
♥ Lisa